Sunday, August 15, 2010

[Matt's Messages] "Jesus and Jerusalem"

“Jesus and Jerusalem” 
Certain of Jesus:  The Gospel of Luke
August 15, 2010
Luke 13:31-35

Last week, Jesus was teaching about the Surprising Kingdom of God.  How the kingdom of God is not what we would expect.  The kingdom takes us by surprise.

For example, it starts out small and then grows huge.

And, it has a very narrow door but that door opens into a broad and joyful kingdom.

The Kingdom is surprising.

The door to the kingdom is not only narrow, but it’s closing.

When Jesus was teaching, the door was closing, especially for the nation of Israel.

The nation of Israel had been given such amazing promises to be fulfilled in their Messiah, but they were on the verge of rejecting their Messiah.

And the door on the kingdom was about to slam shut.

Leaving many outside where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Remember that from last week?

Well, these next 5 verses take place at that same time.

When you first read this paragraph by itself, it seems little mystifying.  What exactly is Jesus talking about?

But when you realize the context is the closing door of the kingdom, some things become clearer and you can begin to see the heart of our Lord Jesus.

I’m going to call this message, “Jesus and Jerusalem.”

And while this doesn’t tell us everything about the relationship Jesus has with Jerusalem, it says an awful lot.

And I think it says an awful lot to us today, as well.

Today, I want you to see the heart of Jesus.
I want you to see, perhaps in a new way, or in an old and forgotten way the heart of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This text, these five verses, reveal the heart of Jesus.

And if you’re looking, you can’t miss it.

Every week, when I am preparing a message for you, I think of it as a nourishing meal.  I’m like a chef, getting together a nourishing, sustaining, tasty, attractive meal for you on Sunday mornings.

And one of the things I’m always looking for as a main ingredient is that I can give you something that will help you to get through the next week.

Because you don’t just information about the Bible.  You could get information somewhere else.

I do give you information, but I’m more interested in transformation and in nourishment. 

Fuel. Something to get you through the week ahead of you.  Grace.  Power.  Enablement.  Something strong and solid to give you confidence and hope and joy and power for living for the next seven days.

And this week, I think that that is a glimpse of the heart of Jesus as revealed to us in Luke 13:31-35.

Today, I want you to see the heart of Jesus.

Only two main headings this morning.  One about Jesus and one about Jerusalem.

Here’s number one.  The first thing I want you to see.  And if you don’t get anything else, I want you to get this one.


Jesus undaunted.  Unafraid. Unshaken.  Unworried.  Unstoppable. 

Undaunted Jesus.  Let’s look at that.  V.31 again.

“At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, ‘Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.’” Stop there for a second.

Now, does anything about this set-up seem funny to you?

Are the Pharisees Jesus’ friends?

Well, I’m sure that a few of them were.  Definitely some were eventually converted.

But since when do the Pharisees care about what happens to Jesus?

Since never, right?

In the Gospel of Luke, Pharisees are opposed to Jesus.  And they will soon begin to plot His demise.

So, I doubt that this apparent concern for Jesus’ health is sincere.

Maybe they wanted to get rid of Him from their territory, and so they used this information about Herod wanting to kill Jesus.

Or maybe, they wanted to move Him out of Galilee (where Herod Antipas ruled) down towards Jerusalem where they had more power to do something about the threat that Jesus posed to them.

I don’t know, but I don’t think there is any love lost here, and I don’t think they had a great motive for this warning.

But think about that warning for a second. V.31

“Herod [the tetrarch, son of Herod the Great] wants to kill you.”

In one sense, Jesus could say, “What’s new?  I’ve had a Herod out to kill me since I was born!”

But in another sense, this could be a little scary.

“Jesus, Herod has taken out a contract on you.”

He wants you dead.

Imagine if someone told you that the President of the United States of America wants you dead.

Personally. He knows your name.  Doesn’t like it. And wants you dead.

How would you feel?

You’d be wanting to move to Canada real quick, wouldn’t you?

And you wouldn’t feel safe there, either, would you?

“Jesus, Herod wants to kill you.”

Now, I think it’s really revealing how Jesus responds.

Jesus is undaunted.  V.32

“He replied, ‘Go tell that fox, 'I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.'”

Jesus is unfazed.  “Oh, you come from Herod.  Okay.  I’ve got a message for Herod.  Tell him, I’m going to move at my own pace, on my own schedule, on my own mission, for my own purpose to achieve my own goals.  He doesn’t bother me.”

Jesus calls Herod a fox.

This is not a term of endearment.

It’s a term of disrespect.

Our family has recently come to understand this term, “fox.”

Back in May, we owned 15 chickens.  We now own 5 chickens. 

At night, we can sometimes hear a little fox family having a happy little picnic at our expense.  “Yum. Finger-licking good!”

Foxes are cunning.  Herod was cunning.
Foxes are destructive.  Herod killed everyone that got in his way.
Foxes scare their prey and leave them shaken.  Herod wanted Jesus to be shaken to the core.

But Jesus was undaunted.

“‘Go tell that fox, 'I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.'”

You can’t stop me.

I will continue to fulfill my messianic ministry.  Today and tomorrow (I think that means, right on schedule.)

And on the third day (when I’m done with that), I will reach my goal.

The King James says, “I shall be perfected.”  Meaning, my mission will be complete.

Jesus is undaunted.

And He’s undauntedly headed towards Jerusalem.  V.33

“In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day–for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!”

Here’s that 1, 2, 3 pattern again. Today, tomorrow and day 3.  I think that later readers like us can see the 3 day pattern of His death and resurrection lurking in these words.

But His basic message is that He will not stop until He’s fulfilled His mission.

And He can’t even die until He reached Jerusalem.

Herod won’t kill Him up in Galilee.

No, He’s going to die in the place where God’s prophets die–Jerusalem.

Now, that’s a slam on Jerusalem.  How would you like that as the slogan for your town?  “Jerusalem–where the prophets go to die!”

Jesus will say a lot more about Jerusalem in just a second, but think about this for just a little bit longer.

Jesus is using irony.  He knew that He could die in the North.  That He had to go to Jerusalem to do His dying.

So, that helps him to not be afraid of Herod Antipas.  He is safe.

But see where does choose to go...

Where is Jesus headed?

He is headed to Jerusalem.

He is so brave.  He is so loving.

Jesus chose to go to Jerusalem knowing full well what awaited Him there.

He chose it.

He was following the dangerous plan of His Heavenly Father.

V.33 “In any case, I must keep going...” Must.

It is the will of my Father.  And I choose it.

I must keep going and ultimately reaching Jerusalem to die there.

Undaunted Jesus.

Do you remember the story of Abraham and Isaac? When Abraham took Isaac up the mountain-side because God had told him that He wanted Abraham to sacrifice his son?

What did Isaac know at that point about this?

He carried the wood and the fire.  But he didn’t know what was going to be sacrificed?

“Father, where is the lamb?”

Jesus knew Who the lamb was going to be.   [Idea taken from Kent Hughes (pg. 105) who got it from Alexander McClaren.]

And He was undaunted.

Now, here’s where it gets nourishing.

I want you to see the heart of Jesus.

Can you see Jesus choosing this hard road...for you?

This is love.

This is Jesus’ love for you.

He didn’t stop.  He didn’t pause.  He went to Jerusalem for you.

He didn’t stay safe.  He didn’t play it cautious.  He didn’t hedge His bets.

He was undaunted in His pursuit of your salvation.

The Old Testament has a word for God’s love.  It’s HESED.

It means covenant love or covenant commitment.

It’s often translated “unfailing love.”

Jesus love for you is undaunted.

Can you see and feel the undaunted love of the Lord for you?

That will feed you for a week.  (And for a life time.)
That will get you through whatever you’re going to face in the next 7 days.

The undaunted love of Jesus for you.

What are you facing this week?

Trouble at work?
Trouble at home?
Trouble in the neighborhood?
Trouble at the hospital?

Jesus kept on going today, and tomorrow and then He reached His goal.

For you.

And that is enough to get you through whatever you are facing.

The undaunted love of Jesus.

Our part is to receive that love.  To turn to Jesus and trust Him for it.

Jerusalem, at this point, was not willing to do that.

Second and last main heading:


“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!”

Now, here, Jerusalem the city stands for more than the city, I think.

I think it stands for the nation.  Like Washington often stands for the U.S.

Jesus loved Jerusalem and (see His heart here?) often longed to make her safe and secure, and protected, and warm, and nurtured, and loved like a mother bird with her young.

But Jerusalem was rejecting Jesus.

He wasn’t the Messiah that they wanted.

“He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.”

His own did not receive Him.

Look at how Jesus felt about these people.

Want to know how Jesus feels about the lost?

His emotions are complex with some deeper and more ultimate than others.

But look at what He says about these people.  How He laments!  How He suffers in love for them.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!”

That’s how Jesus feels about the lost who are rejecting Him.

Look at what you give up if you are unwilling to receive Jesus.

Being gathered to Him like a mother hen gathering her chicks under her wings.

That’s a beautiful picture of safety and warmth and welcome and protection.

Don’t you want that?

Jerusalem did not.  “You were not willing!”

And they suffered for it.  Justice.  V.35

“Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'’”

In the year 70 AD, the Romans came and reduced Jerusalem to a pile of rubble.

Their “house was left desolate.”

The Pharisees have come to Jesus and told Him that He’s in danger.

But the opposite is actually true.

Jesus says that it is they who are in danger.

If they are unwilling to receive Him as their Savior and their Lord.

And that’s still true today.

If you are unwilling to receive Jesus as your Savior and your Lord then you are in grave and perilous danger.

Your house will be left desolate.

The door to the kingdom will shut in your face and you will miss the feast.

You will be outside with the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.

But you don’t have to be.

You can be willing.

You can be gathered in and safe under the wings of Jesus.

“[Jesus] came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.”

But that’s not the end of the story!

“Yet to all who [did receive] him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.”

To those who receive Him.

Have you received Jesus as your Lord and Savior?
It sounds like a bumper sticker, but it is the real and honest truth.

No Jesus.  No peace.
Know Jesus.  Know peace.

Jesus went undaunted to the Cross to pay the horrible price for our sins.

We must be willing to receive Him and get the peace that He alone can give.

I want to be under Jesus’ wing.

Don’t you?

Can you see the heart of Jesus?

I think that the last sentence is a little glimmer of more hope.

Jesus has told them that they are desolate. The door to the kingdom is closing and soon will be shut.

And He says, “I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”

When is that?

Well, at least it happened in part on Palm Sunday, right?

They were shouting that with their palm branches.

The people there were recognizing that Jesus was, in fact, the true messenger of God.  The true Messiah of God.

The One who comes in the name of the Lord.

It’s a quote from Psalm 118 which may have a further prophetic message.

There will be a day when ethnic Israel will turn, as a whole, to her Messiah.

Our prayer group saw that this week in Romans 11.  “All Israel will be saved.”

There is coming a day when many, not few, will be able to sing with Psalm 118.

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.
From the house of the LORD we bless you.
The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine upon us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.
You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures [undaunted!] forever.”


Messages So Far In this Series:

Certain of Jesus
The Back-Story of Jesus
The Birth of Jesus
Jesus - A Very Special Child
Preparing the Way for Jesus
Jesus Is the Son of God
Jesus in Galilee
Jesus and the Sinners
Jesus Brings Real Joy and Rest
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part One
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Two
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Three
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Four
Amazing Jesus
Disappointed with Jesus
Loving Jesus Much
Jesus' Real Family
Jesus Is Lord
Who Is Jesus?
Following Jesus
Sent By Jesus
Q&A With Jesus
Sitting at Jesus' Feet
Jesus Teaches Us to Pray 
Jesus Is Stronger Than Satan
More Blessed Than Jesus' Mom
Being Real with Jesus
Jesus and Our Stuff
Be Ready for Jesus' Return
Jesus and Tragedies
Set Free By Jesus
Jesus and the Surprising Kingdom